Honolulu, on Oahu’s south shore, is capital of Hawaii, and gateway to the U.S. island chain. The Waikiki neighborhood is its center for dining, nightlife and shopping, famed for its iconic crescent beach backed by palms and high-rise hotels, with volcanic Diamond Head looming in the distance. Sites relating to the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor include the USS Arizona Memorial.
Weather: 79°F (26°C), Wind NE at 7 mph (11 km/h), 77% Humidity
Hotels: 3-star averaging $200, 5-star averaging $383. View hotels
Local time: Tuesday 3:13 AM
Population: 374,658 (2009)
Check out these 12 things you should try when visiting this land.
1. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay
This beautiful bay features is an easy and excellent location to snorkel. There are over 400 species of fish, and an abundance of (my favorite) sea turtles.
2. Pearl Harbor
On December 7, 1941 Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This devastating attack pulled the United States into World War II, which ultimately changed the entire face of the globe. The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is a sobering reminder of what we have come through. Though this changes the tone from the rest of Hawaiian vacation, it needs to be included.
3. North Shore
The Northern shore of the island is not nearly as developed as other parts of Oahu, but should also be on your list. Each winter the shore is pounded with 30 ft tall waves that make it a surfers’ paradise. It is easy and fun to spot professional surfers riding the waves all day. Even though Claire insisted I remain a spectator I tried to ride the waves myself; this was a big mistake as I got tossed like a ragdoll.
4. Hike Diamond Head
This mountain/volcanic crater is one of the best spots in Hawaii for a quick hike. It is only about a mile long and not difficult (seriously Grandmas do it). Once at the summit you have breathtaking views of Waikiki and the endless blue ocean.
5. Waterfalls at Ko’olau Mountain Range
This mountain range was formed by ancient volcanoes erupting. Today, there are dramatic cliffs left on the Eastern side of Oahu. On a rainy day water pools at the top and you can see spectacular waterfalls coming down the cliffs.
6. Zipline and Rope Bridges Through the Rainforest
Though there are many places in Hawaii that you can zipline above and climb up platforms via rope bridges through the dense rainforest canopy. Climb Works is one of the best. They feature ziplines, atv rides, rappelling, and suspension bridges.
7. Ha’iku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven) Hike
Supposedly this hike is now illegal due to private land ownership and liability issues, though I know many people are still doing it. I include it because it is something you will hear about when planning a trip to Hawaii. The metal stairs and ladders create a challenging but amazing hike.
8. Surf Lessons at Waikiki Beach
This is the busiest tourist spot in Hawaii. The white sand, clear blue water, and never ending small waves make this a perfect spot for beginners to become a grommet (supposedly this means beginning surfer). Great instructors make this possible for even the least athletically inclined.
9. Polynesian Cultural Center
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